Monday, October 17 2022

burger king, polish candy, and groceries

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. I regret to inform you that Monday has arrived. If you're like me, climbing out of bed on this chilly, overcast fall morning went against all of your instincts. But nothing greases the tracks of my morning routine like a hot cup of coffee. Wake up, fellow pilgrim, and imbibe.

Sip. Today is real picture day. Marissa wanted to follow up on the whole picture day outfit debacle from a week ago. "Tell them that I got an email from Rodney's old school in Madison - they're picture day was last week," she explained.

"Yeah, maybe you should just write your own journal," I snipped.

Rodney sat at the kitchen table over a hot plate of waffles in the same outfit from last week - khaki pants, a red plaid shirt, and a hair pushed aside with a glob of hair gel. He ignored his waffles while he finished a game on his handheld Pac-Man. If I were Rodney, I might feel a little embarrassed that the whole class already got to see my picture day outfit, but I think Rodney is still too young to be that conscientious. He's got other things on his brain.

"Didya know," he began after finally biting into a waffle. "Dida know that I can play videos in my head?"

How was your weekend? Was it relaxing? Marissa took Ziggy to an agility trial. She returned with two ribbons. Meanwhile, I hung out with the boys back at home. Although we were limited to things within walking distance of our house, we still got a few adventures in.

For example, the three of us are now regulars at the local Burger King. I tried to convince Rodney and Miles to take a chance on Chinese, Mexican, or Kebabs, but there was no convincing them once they had BK on the brain. Plus, Burger King is a lot closer than the other places, and I was getting tired of pulling them in the wagon.

The boys talked me into going to Burger King twice this weekend. Both times, we sat on one of the plush couches in the back just beneath the flat screen TV. They were free to do whatever they wanted as long as they followed my very lenient dad brand of rules: let me watch TV, don't run, and eat some of the food.

I never thought I'd eat at Burger King again. After all, we were reluctant neighbors to a Burger King during our time in Madison. I weighed my principles while I ate the first whopper I've had in years, and I've decided to forgive Burger King. Besides, the Burger King on the other side of our fence in Madison was so half-assed that it felt like a different restaurant altogether.

On the way back, I took the boys to a Polish grocery store across the street. We perused the aisles, trying to stay out of people's way while we enjoyed the upbeat dance music thumping in the background. We encountered a display of loose Polish candy, so I let the boys fill up a bag.

Back at home, sampling the candy around the kitchen table felt exciting. With barely a hint from pictures on the Polish wrappers, we had no idea what we were biting into.

"AH AH AH," yelled Rodney, shooting up from his seat at the table. He began to cough as red liquid dribbled out of his mouth. He ran to the garbage can in a panic and began spitting. "That one was had with spicy pepper sauce!" he exclaimed.

The label read "cherry liquor" in plain English print. My bad - I probably could have spared him from that traumatic experience.

I've been getting a lot of joy from grocery shopping. When it comes to buying food, there are so many interesting choices around us. Lately Rodney and I frequent the Valli Produce on the north side of town - or as he cryptically referred to it, "the place with the black ceiling." I vetted his memory during our last visit - I would have never noticed it, but Valli Produce does have a black ceiling!


During our last trip, I let Rodney take the lead with the kids cart. He only bumped into about fifty people. I think Rodney likes Valli because they have a whole freezer full of loose shrimp that they sell by the pound, and he gets to scoop his favorite food into a bag himself.


Chef Rodney prepares his signature dish: mac and cheese with shrimp

Last night, we took the boys to a small Polish restaurant next door to the grocery store we visited. Dance music filled the air. Mounted moose heads and bear skinned rugs surrounded our cozy corner table. We ate pickles, pierogi, breaded meat cutlets, and saurkraut. As is tradition in our family, my children spilled their ice cold lemonades onto the table before we left.


That's what I got today. Go have a Monday.